By attending Midem over the past 20 years I have seen the growth and changes within the Global entertainment industry. American culture has become an integral portion of the world music, film and Tech communities. What I have also seen is the lack of American musicians, artist, creators, videographers, film makers, producers and writers, tech companies and music professionals attending.
For 2015 I have made a commitment to change the status by assisting a cadre of American companies in attending Midem, preparing there materials and obtaining business meetings while there. By taking advantage of the MUSIC SPECIALIST MIDEM SPECIAL I will assist your company at NO EXTRA CHARGE.
In the past 5 years EVERY COMPANY that I have assisted has acquired an International deal.
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Title: Take Me to the River
Release Date: September 12, 2014
Directed By: Martin Shore
Produced By: Martin Shore, Jerry Harrison, Cody Dickinson, Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, and Dan Sameha
Cast: Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi All-Stars and many more.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Synopsis: "Take Me to the River" is a feature documentary celebrating the inter-generational and inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album, to re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday.
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On January 5, 2013 I was invited to be an industry professional in a speed-networking event for the Atlanta entertainment industry and to focus on fashion law. Organized by Allen Johnston, The Music Specialist, it featured over 40 industry professionals from film, television, fashion, and music to offer 5-minute rounds with industry talent to help them put their best foot forward. For more information and the next event date see:http://www.entertainmentindustryconnection.com.
Although I wasn’t giving a full presentation I did prepare some notes for those who are in the fashion industry and have put them below for your reference. Remember these are here for general educational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. For that you need to make an appointment with an attorney. To make an appointment with me click on the “Contact Me” tab above.
What is fashion law?
It is a niche field of legal practice that focuses on the billion dollar industry of making us look fabulous including design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, communications, advertising, publishing, consulting, modeling, etc.
What does a fashion attorney do?
Fashion attorneys’ work includes intellectual property concerns (such as copyrights and trademarks), business law, contracts, labor and employment law, merchandising and licensing, customs, retail leasing, international regulations, and more.
Fashion attorneys’ clients include: retailers, designers, manufacturers, distributors, artists, small businesses, musicians, athletes, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, fashion magazines, fashion bloggers, and others who are involved in the fashion industry.
What are some fashion law issues that are trending right now?
One of the biggest debates in the fashion industry is the fact that clothing design is NOT copyrightable. This is based on the doctrine of functionality. Under the US Copyright Act, 17 USC Sec 101, “useful” articles – items with a functional quality – are not protected under the act. Recent court decisions have found that clothing is considered a useful article.
That has not stopped fashion designers from trying to protect their designs but they have a difficult uphill battle for they need to prove that there is a “separation” of the aesthetic elements and the utilitarian elements of the items – so can they prove that the artistic is separate from the function?
One old case, Mazer v Stein, 347 US 201 (1954) showed that the statute element of a lamp had copyright protection as a statute separate from the lamp, but that the entire lamp did not. However, the court in Jovani Fashion v Fiesta Fashion, 2d Cir, No 12-598-cv, 2012, dismissed the case saying that the “sequin and crystal covered bodice, the ruched sating at the waist, and the layers of tulle of the skirt” were not separable from the concept of a “prom dress” and they were all elements of what makes a prom dress a prom dress.
So this is why the day after the Oscars we see so many dress knock-offs. Because of this, a Fashion Copyright Bill, theInnovative Design Protection Act of 2012 (S 3523) (IDPA) was introduced to try to offer protection to high-level (read couture) fashion design. It died in Congress last year, but it is predicted that Senator Schumer will introduce it for a 7thtime in the next session. We’ll watch and see what happens.
Copyright is not the only way designers have attempted to protect their unique designs – Lululemon designs and produces pricy and popular fitness apparel. In 2012 it sued Calvin Klein, Inc. and its manufacturer G-III Apparel Group, Ltd for copying its patented waistband of its signature Astro Pant. This is another case we’re watching to see what happens or if it will just settle.
What about protecting colors in fashion?
Colors as trademarks have had a limited but interesting journey in US courts. Tiffany has a trademark on it’s unique blue that it uses on its packaging and marketing materials. Burberry has a trademark on its plaid design. What about red soles on a shoe? This was the top case in 2012 – Louboutin had a trademark on the red soles of its shoes. Yves St Laurent created a red shoe with a red sole and Louboutin sued for trademark violation. The court did not invalidate Louboutin’s redsole trademark but did limit it. The red sole trademark is valid for shoes that have a different top color – but YSL’s all red upper and sole shoe was not in violation.
The use of underage models and the connection to exploitation of a woman’s body is always a concern. Although employment of minors is regulated, it is highly controversial in the public eye.
What happens to a fashion house founded by a married couple when they get divorced? Who owns the name, the reputation, the fashions, etc.? This is the case of Tony and Chris Burch and the Tory Burch, LLC. They finally settled – undisclosed terms – but it created uncertainty in the market as to the future of that design house for a while.
Brazil seems to be a top international spot for design and fashion lawsuits – whether flip-flops (Brazilian shoe designerFernando Mello) or handbags (Birkin Bag counterfeits) – you see it all happen there.
And more – Gucci v Guess in terms of a shoe, Louis Vuitton v The Hangover Part II over a bag, Humphrey Bogart estate v Burberry for publicity rights for using a photo of him “claiming” he was wearing a Burberry trench coat, window décor lightning causing trademark confusion for Zoomp, and Dolce & Gabbana sues Dolce & Banana in South Africa – to name just a few of 2012.
So do you need a fashion attorney?
The above examples show the diversity and broad range of issues a fashion attorney can help you with. Protect your assets and your creations to the fullest extent permitted by law. Learn as much as you can and get a great fashion attorney on your team. It’s an investment that will keep returning on its own for the life of your fashion brand.
What have you created today?
Kaye-Ree is a visual illustration of the word new. Our fascination of new things to come is apparent and when it does arrive, our anticipation is usually satisfied. Soul music aficionados wonder what will be dubbed after the Persian/German singer-songwriter, Kaye-Ree.
Kaye-Ree released her highly anticipated Debut Solo Album May 2009 on Reevolution Music, sharing her influences, experiences and wisdom in her songs with us and called it "Endless Melody" as an omen for her music-career.
The collaboration with Mercedes-Benz for the presentation of the E-class 2009, right after their album release was quite a big step for Kaye-Ree and Felix Justen.
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Bobby Rush’s just released Down in Louisiana showcases another side of a man who deserves being mentioned in the same context as the blues greats Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and B. B. King.
Writing in Blues Access 15 years ago, Stanley Booth compared Bobby Rush to Dylan as an inspired synthesist with his lyrics. The new album underlines his abilities in this regard. His vocals would fit comfortably with Excello veterans like Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester.
His harmonica playing is refined, masterful and as intricate as a full horn section. Produced by his longtime keyboardist Paul Brown in Nashville at Ocean Soul Studios with a core band of four, Down in Louisiana begs the world to re-examine Bobby Rush.
He is way more than a caricature, and his marketing savvy concerning how to cross over to a white audience without losing his core African American fan base places him in a unique position among our most serious blues giants today
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Today, musician-songwriter-arranger Reginald Harmon tours throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean, captivating audiences with his smooth melodies and spicy rhythms. Few artists are capable of mastering more than one art form but Reginald of Dayton, Ohio is one such artist.
Harmon was educated at Central State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Yet his most important education was sharing and growing with other national recording artists from Dayton, Ohio. His unique sound attracted the attention of other musicians and has led to several musical collaborations.
Harmon’s original composition, “ R U Ready,” was recorded by nationally known artists, Pieces of a Dream. Harmon as an educator believes the Arts are critical to the entire academic experience.
J.STRING’S ACID TRIP NATION is the newest community to the urban dance-hip hop world. This international groove sound is centered around the production style of J.STRING, ACID TRIP. Every so often a music producer completes a project that is a true vision of the direction that they see music going. After years of producing on the underground, J.STRING felt it was time to head in this direction. He immediately started working on remixes with this ACID TRIP sound. The industry took note of this new producer with this new sound.
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Jureesa La’ Twon born February 20, 1982 was raised in Port Gibson/ Pattison, Mississippi area. “The Duchess” as many know her is a small town country town girl with big dreams, big heart, full of talent and a gift for music. I have been influenced by so many great artist many who are in Soul Heaven but still so many who are still standing thank all of these great artist because they have left me with a lot to sing and write about but most of all they have shown me how it should be done . I am so inspired and thankful to these awesome artists without them my inspiration would possibly not be where it is today. I pride myself as a true down home Southern Soul Blues artist/ songwriter/ entertainer waiting for the world to sit back, listen and enjoy the expressions of my soul. It does not matter to me how big or small the crowd; the show must go on giving 100%.. My love for music and the desire to share drives me to be the best.
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Gareth Hunter, (born 16 March), is an American musician, song-writer, composer, producer, and philanthropist. Prior to his first composing contract at age 19 with H&H Records (a branch of A&M Music), Gareth was known to many as a child prodigy. He began playing percussion instruments in his father’s band at age three. By age four he competed in his first national competition in Denver, Colorado, placing third amongst adult competitors.
The summer of 2012 brought a reconnection with Gareth and longtime friends Zuri Craig and Jeffrey Lewis (of Tyler Perry’s’ “Madea’s Big Family”) for an independent test release entitled “What Do You Do”. Written by Jeff Lewis, composed by Gareth and Leonard Tyson, and produced by Gareth, “What Do You Do” marked his debut as Executive Producer.
Currently Gareth is busy recording more independent work featuring up and coming artists to complete his three year processed album "Blemishes of Perfection" (Due out 2014). Gareth's video for the official 2013 fall release of single “What do You Do” will lead the way into three self-titled album releases scheduled for 2013-2015. “A Mothers Love” (A fundraiser to fight Child Trafficking and Child Prostitution) will be the climatic end in a two year campaign designed to establish Gareth as a true dominant entertainment force while giving back to the community that supports his art form.
Gareth is determined to bring his vision of true musical artistic expression merged with community service to the forefront of music lovers and the socially conscience alike.
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Allen Johnston The Music Specialist
The Music Specialist’s mission is to provide foundations in the Entertainment Industry and in business academics that will enable our clients to advance the field of social entrepreneurship with the highest quality performances that both educate and entertain.